I was sitting on one of the wooden chairs on the small patio in my back garden with my friends; it was getting dark but the outdoor halogen light was on. It seemed less intrusively bright than usual. A few minutes earlier I'd been slowly regaining consciousness from yet another balloon of nitrous oxide – from a viewpoint outside of and behind my head, I saw myself begin to sit up with the biggest smile on my face. Now a girl who I hadn't noticed before took my hand and before long I felt her whole arm in contact with mine. I looked at her and smiled; time passed and sometime later we were lying entwined on the trampoline. We pointed out shooting stars screaming across the bright night sky to each other. We sucked each other's fingers and it was more erotic than I ever remembered. Her trousers were loose fabric and her mouth warm and soft.
Next I was in the house - half a dozen of us were sitting around the kitchen table. A moronic drinking game was taking place and I was discomforted by my inability to avoid flashes of honesty in front of my sister. Caroline joined in enthusiastically even though her sole companion was a once-cute blonde whose breasts had grown at the expense of her innocence. I failed to remember what she used to look like and the game continued despite my ineffective attempts to recall the mental image.
Later on I took the shooting star girl upstairs and the remainder of my guests also retired. She made strange noises as she slept and she woke early. She told me she expected to ride her horse through the countryside while the sun rose and I thought this was vaguely endearing (notwithstanding my hatred of all things equine). I wanted to hold her but she and something else prevented me from doing so.
I was no longer in my bedroom. I led people through a sunny field toward the road – they caught a horrendously late bus to Crawley and I imparted disappointing farewells to my companions. Now I was in Redhill walking out of the station like I often do. There were few people about and I didn't recognise any of them. The day seemed to be in the latter stages of twilight, but I think much of the darkness was imagined by me. My phone rang and I arranged to meet David and Catriona: we were attending a party together. I caught up with them after walking through the park for the first time in my life. They had seemed unnaturally small in the distance. We arrived at the party as David seemed to know the way.
Some alcohol was imbibed. And then, played out to a terrible soundtrack: a mans was met, some fags were present, I failed to talk to the people I wanted to, public telephones were operated, cigars were smoked, Jadders was kissed, a ghost train was embarked upon, Catriona smiled, Lizi tasted of a delicious beverage. I struggle to fathom what this all implied. As it was I felt an impatience for adventure and a niggling notion that I ought to be elsewhere. Thus I found myself leaving early.
I ran through the unfamiliar streets and for once the pikeys lining the pavements didn't even seem to notice me – they were busy pushing each other into the unlit road. I was worried by their presence, but also knew that I would be safe. I reached the station and boarded the train dripping with liquid expectation – everyone seemed to be going somewhere big that night; we were all embarking on our own uncertain journeys. When we arrived at Victoria, a passenger thought I was sleeping and tried to rouse me from non-existent dreams. I thought: "It will take much more than that."
I scoured tourist maps because I had to get to Caledonian Road. After two hours struggling with London's night buses and the unmarked roads outside Pentonville Prison, I walked past two dodgy fucks and into an orange building that seemed to have been constructed from cardboard like an old McDonald's Happy Meal container. By then, I was completely sober. The damage was seven pounds and I danced some and then explored. I discovered other areas in the building beside the main rig: the bar and chillout room. I acquired a couple of balloons, nine Spaniards turned up and, after spending a few moments plucking up courage, I scored hilariously easily. The party was beginning to liven up, although some tosser clad in a bright red 2004-2005 season Arsenal shirt was prancing around, and shouting like a cunt. He represented the dregs of society that makes me cry.
And then the worst occurred: the room was hushed, the music turned down and, even before the arrival of the pigs was announced, I had a strong premonition of something bad happening. An organiser spoke over the PA: we were promised that the party would go on (Love live the party! You cannot kill the party!). But alas, within half an hour, cops were shining their flashlights in our eyes and leading us outside. I had a flash of paranoia because I had a white star in my wallet but felt too invincible to get busted.
We were outside now, milling about on the warehouse's forecourt-style area. A nice mans with a shiny mobile too expensive for a real hippy wandered among us giving out infoline numbers. I overheard people discussing various other events going on in the area. I looked at my watch: it was five o'clock in the morning. This prompted me to look up to the sky for the first time. The sun was thinking about rising, but I was alone in north London and far too terrified to ask where to go. The organisers were explaining to the four squad cars and one riot van present the difficulties in arranging legal gatherings in a post-Criminal Justice Act world, but the Arsenal fan was behaving in an uncouth and yobbish manner nearby. I was disgusted by him – "They should just arrest him," someone muttered and I silently agreed. Was he really so frustrated that he had to screw everything up, does he really have so little respect for himself and others? What hope do we have for making things better if we can't even sort things like this out at a psychedelic party?
At that point I wanted to be home. I set off in an arbitrary direction hoping to walk to a place where I could catch some form of public transport. After a few yards into the darkness, I turned back (I'm not sure why). I started talking to a large drunken Australian and a temerarious young Mr. Suave. The talkative yuppie persuaded a passing Italian to share a taxi with us. He stepped onto the road to wait for a taxi and an illegal cab appeared from nowhere and was instantly hailed. We piled in the back and headed for Kilburn, leaving the cops there.
The journey was lengthy and hilarious, probably because we were all rolling. The smart, well-dressed twentysomething couldn't stop speaking and related every minor comment to a lengthy narrative about unimportant recent events in his life. He knew exactly what to say at all times and I enviously watched him make flawless small-talk with absolute ease. Meanwhile, the boozy Aussie giggled at his inability to shut up and the Italian from Venice pretended to do a runner at a service station. I was trying to pay attention to the route we took, but I'm certain I could never remember one turning even if you offered me the penetration of Alice Artwoman. Our lawless driver was relentlessly mocked for his fiancée's nationality and the fact he met her via http://www.filipinawives.com/, but I thought he took the jesting all in remarkably good heart considering everything.
After handing over a paltry sum, we were kicked out on a deserted highway and the three gentlemen I was with immediately demanded I lead them to a keraaaaaazy party since I'd been the one who made the claim that I knew where one was being held. I knew we were looking for a large silver building and, after trotting a few yards down the road we found it. We picked our way round to the back but could make out no discernable entrance nor the plaster-muted beats we hoped for. A CCTV camera pointed in our eyes so we wandered around some more and, as a last resort, explored a near-empty underground car-park in search of potential entry points. Upon emerging from the pitch-black basement area, we were greeted by three beefy black guys silhouetted again the one entrance that they blocked. At least one of them was wielding a heavy metal bar.
"Oi; what do you think you guys are looking for?"
If my mind had not been augmented by chemicals, I'm certain that my life would have flashed before my eyes and ended with black bin liners containing my remains being dumping in a badly-lit alleyway in north west London. One of us had the presence of mind to hopefully utter,
The iron pipe dude in the middle ('eez a shady fuck, beemer three series and two fat fucks backin' 'im up) chuckles to his mates,
"Well it sure ain't fuckin' down there, innit?"
We nervously smile as we're led through the solid metal door we never spotted before. Upon stepping through I'm met by insanity unseen outside of movie sets. A bunch of massively built dudes huddle round a kitchenette probably playing poker or something. Next to the microwave is a black and white television showing the CCTV image from outside. In one corner are some makeshift weapons and devices for securing and breaking open doorways. In the opposite corner four or five people are leaning over a smooth, low table and snorting some sort of powder from various piles. We are courteously informed by the large men that the evening's entertainment is taking place on the fourth floor but that the elevator is out of order. I set on up the staircase.
As I ascend, I look around amazed. There are people everywhere; all sorts of people. There are dozens of rooms, all beautifully graffed up to the max and several reserved as private bedrooms. In one room, power trance is being pumped out loudly, air conditioning units are assisted by several fans, nitrous is available and a bunch of cool kids are passing joints in a smaller antechamber. There is a functional kitchen, working toilets, a storeroom and another rig on the same floor in a room decorated with marvellous mushroom murals in UV paint. I notice a laser printout of a diagram illustrating electron diffraction before the young smart guy who organised our taxi accosts me and starts talking.
I had difficulty articulating my thoughts to this man. Meanwhile, he interrupted me and mentioned that he'd done well at the International Mathematics Competition (this is seriously big-name shit) and achieved a first class degree in Maths and Philosophy as well as the University Prize from Oxford University. His statement was not overtly arrogant and I saw reason to disbelieve him. Over the next hour this man acted as my guru, offering all sorts of advice to assist the living of an enjoyable life. We covered drugs, sociology, politics, the East and lift in general: even taking the MDMA into account, we appeared to be remarkably similar. He was rolling so hard that he hadn't closed his mouth for hours. I then excused myself to dance while he wandered off to make impeccable conversation with complete strangers. He had told me his name several times but I didn't hear it clearly once.
And so tunes were played, people were recognised; some conversations were joined, others not. I wandered around marvelling at everything I came across - a thousand smiles must have been shared. I danced a fuck of a lot and shook hands with one of the marvellous DJs. I learned from a list stuck to the wall that his name was Carlos Santan. I even lay down on some soft cushions and caught half an hour of sleep despite being inches from the right speaker of what must have been a 5kW chillout system. I danced some more and bumped into the guys I shared a taxi with. We looked at each other in recognition and smiled, but didn't say anything.
I looked at my watch and the time was ten am. I rushed out of the main room to peer through a window: the sun had already risen over the grey city. Greengrocers were dragging crates of vegetables onto pavements, dustmen were doing their rounds, suits were walking to work, old women were catching buses to high streets and tea shops. I stepped out of the building's back entrance into the blinding sunlight and walked amongst these people in search of a bus stop. I noticed that there was a bass report still faintly noticeable beating through the air. The city was just waking and these people were going about their daily lives a mere dozen yards away from where I'd been stomping away. Only moments earlier I had been peaking at a prototype to heaven and they were completely oblivious to it all. I tried to look people in the eyes to see if they too could hear the beat I was privy to and no one gave any sign of realising what was going on. I felt so privileged.
After getting confused by a map I found, I finally caught a bus that would take me back to Victoria station. Nodding to sleep, I almost put my head through the window. Then, whilst travelling on the train with my headphones on, I awoke with a jolt for no discernable reason – I only just made it out at Gatwick before the train's automatic doors shut. From there I caught a bus and walked the remaining one point five miles home. As I unlocked the door, I glanced at my watch again. My journey home had taken about four hours, but I gave not a shit.
When I awoke and could see from the window that it was late afternoon. My head felt a little muggy but the memory of my reverie was still sharp and lucid. When I woke up, I instinctively checked my 'phone for messages – there were none. However, I then noticed that the battery was very low and that a new number had appeared in my phone book under the name "DIARMID".
It was then that I realised that it hadn't all been a dream.
The last week we've been treated to the most amazing skies and it's really been the best time of my life.
I still believe that I saw shooting stars from my trampoline that night. Apparently, that week we were treated to an unusual flurry of Perseid comets. Some morons mistook them for aeroplanes or satellites.